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A former member of the crew of the HMS Bounty recounts the story of the mutiny aboard ship. The Clauvel's, then, take a look at current day (1932) Tahiti and Pitcairn island. In turn, visiting the descendants of the ship's crew and studying their way of life. Including a search for the wreak of the ship. Stars Errol Flynn in his first movie. And directed by and narrated by Australian Charles Chauvel.
Opening Card: In the Wake of the Bounty is not a drama. It is the first of a series of great travel films to be produced by Expeditionary Films, Ltd, depicting strange incidents, strange places, and strange peoples. Each travel feature will contain the thread of a story based upon a true life drama. The mutiny of the Bounty has been acclaimed as the most tragic and strange sea story of all time -- when a crew of British sailors sent their commander and eighteen companions adrift upon the Pacific and signed a sinister pact with a pagan race -- to live, in isolation, upon a rock, at the bottom of the world. The mutiny, which was a bloodless affair, was the result of an effort to transport breadfruit trees from Tahiti to the West Indies by Lieutenant Bligh, who was afterwards the Governor of New South Wales. The audience will follow in the Wake of the Bounty with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Chauvel, as they traversed 15,000 miles in the South Seas to secure the exact backgrounds upon which the drama of the Bounty was enacted. Expeditionary Films has not spared time or money to blaze a new trail-- a trail which they hope will lead to many pleasant hours amidst adventure and romance. See more »
I have to admit that I was not sure of what I would be seeing when I finally got a copy of In The Wake Of The Bounty. The Australian film is noted today for being the debut of Errol Flynn in motion pictures is mostly a fine documentary about the lives of the folks on rugged Pitcairn Island, the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the women they took with them from Tahiti.
When MGM did it's grand scale production of Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935, Louis B. Mayer bought all the rights to this film and it was never shown in America intact. Pieces of it were seen in short documentary subjects about Pitcairn Island.
The producer/director/writer of In The Wake Of The Bounty was Charles Clauvel who some would credit with being the father of Australian cinema. He and his wife and baby girl took motion picture cameras and a crew to Pitcairn Island and put together a fine feature film documentary. And he had about 15 to 20 minutes of acting.
It's a technique that Americans will be familiar with if they watch the History Channel. It calls for the use of some brief live action sequences interspersed with documentary footage and voice-over commentary about whatever event the program is talking about. This is the function of Errol Flynn and the small cast who reenact the Bounty mutiny in microcosm.
Certainly Charles Clauvel did not have the facilities that Louis B. Mayer had so reviewers should go easy on this intrepid Australian who went out to a rarely seen part of the world. Instead of comparing In The Wake Of The Bounty to it's later and more known successors, it might better be compared to some of the documentaries of Frank Buck or Martin and Osa Johnson.
To be sure the acting isn't of the best caliber, I've seen worse however. The film really didn't need the actors, it should have been much better as a straight documentary.
On the other hand Errol Flynn might then have toiled in obscurity and who knows who would have played all those swashbuckling heroes at Warner Brothers.
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